* Q4 GDP growth 3.1% vs 2.5% rise forecast
* Mining, gold stocks climb over 3% each
* Tech stocks track losses in U.S. peers
March 3 (Reuters) - Australian shares climbed on Wednesday
after a much faster-than-expected economic growth in the final
quarter of 2020 cemented hopes of a stronger recovery this year.
The S&P/ASX 200 index closed 0.8% higher at 6,818,
after data showed the economy accelerated 3.1% in the December
quarter, higher than forecasts for a 2.5% rise.
A very low community transmission of COVID-19, coupled with
massive and timely fiscal and monetary stimulus, has led to a
strong rebound in the economy.
"The big picture is that while the initial recovery through
the first half of 2021 may still be subject to air-pockets and
jobs vulnerabilities linger... Australia is unambiguously on a
surer path to sustained recovery," Mizuho analysts said in a
Reflation boost to commodities adds to tailwinds for the
country's growth prospects, they added.
Mining and gold stocks rebounded sharply,
both gaining more than 3% on the back of an uptick in bullion,
iron ore and copper prices.
Heavyweights BHP Group and Rio Tinto
climbed 3.5% and 2.4%, respectively, while Ramelius Resources
jumped nearly 14% to lead gains on the benchmark.
Rio said its chairman and a board director would step down,
bowing to investor pressure over the destruction of two ancient
Aboriginal rock shelters for an iron ore mine last year in
Financials ticked up 1.2%, hitting their highest in
nearly a year, with the "Big Four" banks settling 1% to 2.5%
Tech stocks fell 2.4%, tracking losses in U.S. peers
overnight. Afterpay shed more than 2%, while software
firm Xero Ltd declined 3.3%.
New Zealand's benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index gained 0.1%
(Reporting by Shruti Sonal in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu